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France

Climate deal success within reach, says Fabius

media French President François Hollande (centre) and foreign minister Laurent Fabius (left) with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the COP21 summit on Monday. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who is presiding over the 12-day, 195-nation UN climate conference in Paris, said a climate rescue deal that has remained elusive for the past two decades could be achieved.

"Success is not yet acquired but it is within our reach," Fabius told the delegates in his address at the COP21 summit on Monday..

Earlier, during his opening address, French President Francois Hollande said life itself was at stake.

“Never have the stakes of an international meeting been so high, because it concerns the future of the planet, the future of life, and yet just two weeks ago right here in Paris a group of fanatics sowed death in the streets,” he said.

“This transformation is both a moral duty and an opportunity for the world. Renewable energy, clean transport, recycling, ecology on a grand scale, preserving biodiversity, access for all to the world’s common resources. In making electricity accessible for all, especially in Africa. We’ll bring more than just light, we’ll bring knowledge, education and development,” the French President added.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping said

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they have a duty to curb global warming. “As the two largest carbon emitters, we have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action,” Obama said as he sat at a table with China's President Xi Jinping for talks on the sidelines of the climate conference.

"I've come here personally, as the leader of the world's largest economy, and the second largest emitter, to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it," he said.

"And let's make sure the countries who don't yet have the capacity to report on their targets receive the support that they need. Here in Paris let's reaffirm our commitment. That resources will be there for countries willing to do their part to skip the dirty phase of development. And I recognize that this will not be easy. It will take a commitment to innovation, and the capital to continue driving down the cost of clean energy."

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe blamed the developed countries for not doing enough. "It is unconscionable that not only are developed countries miserly in providing the means for implementation of the convention, but also want, inordinately, to burden us with cleaning up the mess they themselves have created," he said.

The conference saw the launching of “Mission Innovation,” a multi-billion-dollar initiative that sees 20 countries pledging to double their investment in developing clean technology over five years.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is spearheading a parallel, private-sector part of the plan that will bring together 28 big-name investors – including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Virgin founder Richard Branson and George Soros – in the search for new green technologies.

Obama, Putin hold close-door meeting

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday held closed-door talks with his US counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of a UN climate conference in France, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The half-hour meeting between the two leaders is the second this month after an encounter at the G20 conference in Turkey.

The meeting comes with Moscow and Washington at odds over Syria and locked in a standoff over the crisis in Ukraine.

 

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